I first met Sandra at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference over five years ago so I'm delighted to have the opportunity to interview her. She had just received her first contract before we became friends. This is one talented lady. She has two recent releases, Emergency Reunion and Desperate Measures. When I asked her about her 'love of story', here's what she said.
I’m not sure what you mean. Half the time, before I’m through I HATE my stories. :)
LOL. Tell us a little about your new releases.
Desperate Measures is the much-anticipated final installment in my Port Aster Secrets mystery series, which Suspense Magazine described as “a perfect balance between research, science, and a mystery that holds a great deal of action.” The sleuth heroine is a herbal researcher searching for the secrets behind the plant a ruthless pharmaceutical company destroyed her family to control. And the detective who has fallen in love with her is mostly just trying to keep her alive!
My July Love Inspired Suspense title, Emergency Reunion, is about a sheriff deputy desperate to stop the stalker paramedic Sherri Steele refuses to acknowledge, before it’s too late. This is also the final installment in a series of LIS titles with connected characters that includes: Perilous Waters and Identity Withheld. RT Book Reviews has rated it a ‘Top Pick.’
I've read all three of the Port Aster series but haven't had the opportunity to read your LIS yet. I'm looking forward to it though. Did you always want to be a writer?
Oh, yes, as long as I can remember. At 12, I found a market guide book at the library and started sending off stories. Since I didn’t know what SASE meant, I didn’t receive any rejections, or anything at all, until one nice editor at Queen’s Press explained it to me. I decided boys were infinitely more fun for many years after that. But explored writing non-fiction after the birth of my first daughter. I didn’t think I could write fiction. I didn’t read many novels. That changed a few years later after my Mom died and I discovered Christian fiction. As the books piled up, my husband suggested I write my own, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I can relate. I also started writing at a young age. What advice can you give to writers trying to break into the publishing world?
Don’t be in a rush to get published. Take time to develop your craft and to learn how to draft compelling plots and character arcs.
I love this photo of you with your new book. :) For those of you who don't know, her newest book is set in Niagara, Canada where Sandra lives. You also won't want to miss downloading Deadly Devotion which is free as an ebook right now.
How long have you been writing and what are your hobbies?
I started writing my first-ever novel in the fall of 2004 and signed my first contract in the fall of 2010.
I used to have a different one every few years. Things like knitting, painting, crocheting, sewing, quilting, dried flower arranging, jewelry making. Writing has stuck and…consumes all the hobby time, too. Well, now hobby time looks more like: learning how to update a website, blogging, oh, and reading!
Writing is a consuming hobby. :) Are you involved in a critique group?
I have a writing group that I meet with periodically. We don’t always critique. We often brainstorm. I also have a couple of writing friends that read through my work and offer general feedback, especially when I feel as if a scene isn’t working.
Friends like that are really important. Let's look at a few lighter questions. :) What is your 'go-to' food when you are writing?
Belgian dark chocolate. :)
:) What’s your favorite animal and have you ever used one in your stories?
Dogs. And yes, Rusty, a Golden Doodle was a popular hero in Identity Withheld. I also had a dog in Fatal Inheritance. But Rusty even got his own interview!
What a fun idea... interviewing a dog. :) If you have a day all to yourself how would you choose to spend it?
I’d probably write. What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment. Actually, when a story is flowing, there are few feelings sweeter than getting it down. And if the story isn’t flowing, brainstorming with fellow writers is tons of fun.
I know what you mean. I love to write, especially when a story is flowing. One final question. What spiritual truths do you desire to convey to your readers?
In Emergency Reunion, that it’s okay to let people see your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. That sometimes being willing to talk about them can help others and yourself in ways you might not imagine. God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses. Don’t shut out the people you love. Be honest with them. Be there for them. Forgive them.
Desperate Measures addresses the question: Are you going to take God at his word? Or draw your conclusions based on temporal circumstances?
Oh, those are wonderful themes. Thank you so much for stopping by, Sandra. I know I'm blessed getting to know you a little better.
By the way, don't forget to leave a comment this month for a chance to win the following.
Also be sure to tune in next Wednesday for an interview with Brandy Heineman as she talks about her new book, Whispers in the Branches.